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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 16, 2009 3:00am-3:30am EDT

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we need to end the practice of denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing conditions. [applause] the days of cherry picking who to cover and who to deny, those days are over. [applause] i watched my own mother as she fought cancer in her last days spending time worrying about whether her health insurance coverage would say that her condition was a pre-existing one. for every person who has suffered under this practice to pay premiums and to not get
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care, we need to put health care in the reach of millions of americans. [applause] . .
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mr. mcconnell: now, mr. president, on another subject, as the national discussion over health care intensifies, one thing is already clear: both republicans and democrats agree that health care is in serious need of reform. the only thing that remains to be seen is what kind of reform we will deliver. americans are worried about what they're hearing from washington. americans want lower costs and they want the freedom to choose their own doctors and their own care. what they don't want is a washington takeover of health care along the lines of what we have seen with banks, insurance industries and the auto industry. americans don't want a government-run system that puts bureaucrats between patients and doctors. and they certainly don't want the kind of government boards that exist in places like new zealand and great britain that deny, delay, and rash on
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treatments that are currently available to americans. americans want change but they don't want changes that make existing programs worse and that's exactly what a government-run system would do. unfortunately, the notion of a government-run plan has been gaining steam. over the past couple of weeks, one democratic leader after another has insisted that it be included as part of any reform. the reaction to this should tell us something. among those who have begun to mobilize in opposition to a government plan are america's doctors who warn that it would limit access to care and could lead to nearly 70% of americans being kicked off health plans they currently have. the u.s. chamber of commerce which represents about three million businesses in this country has warned that the creation of a government plan would lead to government-run health care system. the c.e.o. of the renowned mayo
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clinic warranted some of the best provider could go out of business. and the national federation of independent business, one of the nation's leading associations of small businesses, has also expressed its concerns about a government-run plan. americans don't want the kind of government-run system that some in washington are proposing. they don't want politicians to use the real problems we have in our health care system as an excuse to tear down the whole thing, take away everything that's good about it, and replace it with something worse. they want practical solutions to specific problems. and that's what the rest of us are proposing. here are some commonsense proposals. we all agree health care is too expensive in this country. americans don't think basic procedures should break the bank. and american families shouldn't have to worry about going bankrupt if a family member becomes ill. but government-run health care
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will make matters worse. if our experience with medicare shows us anything, it's that the government health plans are not, i repeat, not cost effective. over the weekend the administration proposes making cuts to medicare as a way of deferring cost of a new government plan. that is exactly the wrong approach. america's seniors expect congress to stabilize medicare so it continues to serve their needs, not drain its resources to pay for another even bigger government plan. changes to medicare should be used to make medicare solvent for seniors today and for those who are paying into it and who will rely on the system tomorrow, not to build a brand-new government plan on top of one that's already on an unsustainable course. if we want to cut costs and reign in debt extending a medicare-like system to everyone in america is exactly the wrong prescription. we need to make medicare itself solvent and find ways to improve the current health care system.
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one way to do that is to implement reforms that we know will save money. we could start with illness prevention programs that encourage people to quick smoking and to control their weight. it's no mystery that smoking and obesity are leading causes of the kinds of chronic diseases that are driving up health care costs. and finding ways to reduce the illnesses would also reduce costs. we should allow employers to create incentives for workers to adopt healthier lifestyles. we should also encourage the same kind of robust competition in health insurance and the health insurance market that has worked so well in medicare prescription drug benefit part-d. we can enact long overdue reforms to our medical liability laws. for too long the threat of frivolous lawsuits has caused insurance premiums for doctors to skyrocket.
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